(WGGB/WSHM) -- We showed you this video back in February when fire destroyed much of a well-known camp for sick children started by actor Paul Newman in Connecticut. Since then, the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford has been working to rebuild.
Now, to help those efforts, two UConn grad students - one with western Massachusetts ties - are taking a coast-to-coast bicycle journey.
“We'll be going all summer,” said Alexandra Estanislau.
ASHFORD, CT (WFSB) – The Connecticut State Police have completed their investigation into the fire at Hole in a Wall Gang Camp in Ashford.
Originally from East Longmeadow and Long Island, NY, Estanislau and June Chu are now graduate students at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and they’re keeping a UConn Health tradition alive. Every year, students bike from the west coast back to the east coast to raise money for local charities.
“It's gonna be a lot of biking, but we're excited,” Estanislau added.
The two told Western Mass News they've decided to send their donations to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, where a massive fire destroyed several buildings in February. The camp, founded in 1988 by actor Paul Newman, helps 20,000 chronically ill children and their families every year. It’s something that hits close to home for Chu.
“Hole in the Wall is extra meaningful to me because I had some relatives/friends who had like childhood cancers, so even though Hole in the Wall didn’t directly support my family, I know that similar organizations had a really big impact on them…This is a very overwhelmingly positive experience for kids who otherwise don’t really get to have much of a normal childhood,” Chu said.
On June 5, the girls are packing their bags and bikes and will start the trek from Anacortes, WA and following the northern tier route all the way back to Farmington, CT. They’ll be cycling six to seven miles a day, nearly 4,000 miles altogether, and hoping to finish in roughly 57 days.
Estanislau said she doesn’t really have a biking background, but growing up a swimmer, she’s ready to tackle this new challenge.
“When swimming ended in college last year, I’ve been sort of not really doing much, but I've been craving something to train for being in schools and sitting on your butt on the computer all day…so when I heard about this trip and with my physical activity background, I was like ‘Oh, I have to do this,’” Estanislau noted.
If you’d like to follow along with Estanislau’s and Chu’s journey, or make a donation, you can click here for more information.